Cruise features U of M NROTC commander


Stillwater native and 1984 U.S. Naval Academy graduate Capt. David S. Ratte, commanding Officer and professor of naval science at the University of Minnesota Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Battalion is the featured speaker at the Eleventh Annual Stillwater Veterans Memorial Benefit Cruise on the St. Croix River Aug. 19.

Ratte began his naval career at the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with merit with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering. He holds a Master of Science degree in Information Management from The George Washington University, and is a Joint Specialty Officer and graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College.

Ratte’s early sea tours include assignments on board the Gold crew of USS Florida as a division officer and Tactical Systems Officer; Combat Systems Officer and Engineer Officer aboard the USS Albany; and as Executive Officer aboard USS L. Mendel Rivers.
Ratte’s first command assignment was Commanding Officer of the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul from April 2002 to December 2004. During his tour, MSP earned the 2002 COMLANTFLT Retention Excellence Award and the 2003 COMSUBRON SIX Battle Efficiency “E” Award. In 2002, the ship deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in support of the Global War on Terrorism and Operation Enduring Freedom, and in 2004 the MSP successfully completed a six-month independent deployment to the North Atlantic.

Ratte served as commander of Submarine Squadron 17 from August 2008 to April 2010, the largest squadron in the submarine force, where he and his staff were responsible for manning, training and equipping Bangor and Bremerton-based SSBNs and their submarine crews.

Ratte currently serves as the commanding officer and professor of Naval Science at the U of M NROTC battalion.

Ratte’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (gold star in lieu of fifth award), Meritorious Service Medal (gold star in lieu of second award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (silver star in lieu of sixth award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is married to Dr. Karen Elhai, MD, and has three grown children.

The Stillwater Veterans Memorial Dinner Cruise begins boarding at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19. The boat leaves the dock at 6 p.m. and returns at 8:30 p.m. Cost is $30 which includes dinner and the cruise.

Because the Veterans Memorial is a non-profit organization, $15 of each ticket is tax deductible. Proceeds from the event benefit the preservation and improvement of the Stillwater Veterans Memorial, located at Third and Pine streets. For tickets or information, visit or call 651-344-6245.